a little deeper but sadder

I had forgotten what it was like to exist
this way. I am a different person in Chicago,
a little deeper but sadder, melancholic,
less supple within my own skin.
Strange sense of slippage, returning here,
revisiting former lives and past estates,
as if the film had jumped its sprockets and the gears
of the clattering projector spun to no effect.
Exist in the moment, yes, but the past is inescapable,
the past is oxygen to the blast furnace of being,
uranium to the reactor of consciousness.
Should I say human consciousness?
Is it so different for bees, lemurs, longhorn sheep?
Are consciousness and self precise synonyms?
Can we imagine one without the other?
Can we conceive of consciousness outside of time
or is it a projection of time within us,
consciousness my temporal expression as my body
is my expression in three-dimensional space?

[Campbell McGrath, from 'Existence' in Seven Notebooks]

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